Saturday 25 November 2017

How I got on with Joyce . . . not the girl at the back, but auld Specky

Gifted: James Joyce
Gifted: James Joyce

David Robbins

There was a time, when you told people you were studying literature at UCD, they would lean towards you conspiratorially and ask: "How are you getting on with Joyce?"

You wondered if they meant that Protestant girl in the báinín sweater who sat at the back of the lecture hall. But you soon realised they meant James Joyce. Oh him.

We made a science of not reading Joyce back then. We listened to Gus Martin go on about Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. We read around the books themselves. We could answer questions and write essays about them, but we'd never opened the works themselves.

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